The Indian boxing contingent was assured of two medals at the world youth championships even before the competition got underway after two women pugilists got direct entry into semifinals owing to the small size of the draw in Budapest. Sakshi Gaidhani (81kg) and Neha Yadav (+81kg) made the last-four stage to put India on the medal table without the exchange of a single blow in the event, which will get underway on Tuesday.
While Saskhi will face Russia’s Anastasiia Rybak, Neha will square off against Ukraine’s Mariia Lovchynska in their respective semi-final clashes. Three other Indians got first-round byes into the quarters in the women’s draw, while two others made the pre-quarters directly.
Divya Pawar (54kg), Manisha (64kg) and Astha Pahwa (75kg) will know of their quarterfinal opponents after the preliminary stage. Sakshi (57kg) and Jony (60kg) will start in the pre-quarterfinal stage.
“We have built-up nicely towards these world championships, we had massive success at the Asian Youth Championships and hopefully the boxers will continue the form in the world championship,” national youth coach for women Bhaskar Bhatt told PTI.
Bhatt is being seen as a major contributor to India’s strong showing in the women’s youth circuit and was at the helm when the country pulled off top finish with five gold and two silver medals at the world youth championships last year. He is also nominated for this year’s Dronacharya award for his contribution to the sport.
India had claimed three gold medals in the women’s event of the Asian championship through Nitu, Manisha and Lalita (69kg). All three are in fray at the world event.
In the men’s draw, Asian silver-medallist Ankit (60kg), Akash (64kg) and Vijeaydeep (69kg) will start their respective campaigns in the pre-quarterfinals after getting opening-round byes.
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